By Pratap Antony
“It is not in the nature of politics that the best men should be elected. The best men do not want to govern their fellowmen”. George E. MacDonald
Few will disagree with Napoleon, who said, “In politics, stupidity is not a handicap”. This is also true of the electorate, that is, ‘all of us’, because we keep voting for, and electing, the worst possible candidates to represent us.
Politicians are mirror images of ourselves; we vote for them because we feel they best represent our own view and outlook. And these politicians whom we elect to the government, instead of serving us and ministering to our needs, put themselves first, and minister to their own needs of ‘greed, power and more power ’.
When one sees the shenanigans of political parties and their politicians working for their own hidden agendas; their own self-interest; lining their pockets and accruing power to themselves, one is embarrassed and ashamed that they represent our views.
Yes, we should be ashamed of these politicians. But we should be ashamed of ourselves too for electing them. We do not use our power of discretion well when we elect them.
It is very clear to me as a citizen of a country of which I am a native and who has voting rights – that I vote for, and have elected to represent me, politicians who are meant to minister to my needs. I expect our ministers to serve us. Not rule us!
The definition of the word minister is, one who ‘serves’, or ‘helps’ us. The origin of the word minister goes back via old French, ministre – to Latin, minister ‘servant, attendant’. Etymologically, minister is the antonym of master. The verb minister means,‘attend to the needs of’.
The point is, these representatives (politicians), that we elect to represent us in the government, become part of the government and change overnight from servers to masters.
They believe that they are meant to rule us citizens – not serve us. They do their best to make the electorate submit to their will and acknowledge their ascendancy, instead of submitting to the will of the electorate and serving the them.
Unfortunately, we citizens also believe the hype that these elected politicians surround themselves with at our expense, and instead of thinking of them as our representatives who are meant to serve us, we call them leaders and submit to their will.
Contrary to our expectations of the government collectively ministering to our needs, ministers become monsters; the government takes on a personality of its own and becomes a separate entity, quite separate from its citizens. We create these ‘minister monsters’ and then lose control of these Frankensteins!
“Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule – and both commonly succeed, and are right” ~ H. L. Mencken
The political party in power, whichever it may be, whom we elect, and the opposition, whom we also elect, do not spend much time in governing, but in playing the game of politics and political one-upmanship and doing nothing for the citizens who have put them up to represent them.
The government begins to lay down the law instead of following the law. They feel they are above the law and break laws instead of administering the rules and regulations of the country. They invoke the rules and regulations for their own convenience and bend these rules to their own ends – to suppress, oppress and repress citizens.
Politicians represent their own needs and aspirations of greed and power over people instead of representing the people and their needs, wants, comforts and desires.
Politicians mistake their own base cunning for intelligence. They become careless and arrogant. They become secretive and cagey. They become opaque and rich at the expense of the people.
They become autocratic due to citizens quiescence, silence, apathy and apparent helplessness, because citizens begin to believe that the government and these politicians are leaders and above them.
Government becomes self-important, smug and insensitive to the people.They do not wish to be questioned.
They believe they are masters of the universe and so cannot get caught in their lies and deceptions. They lose all sense of reality and think that they are too powerful and too cunning to be caught.
But they do get caught; with their hand in the cookie jar; on the wrong foot; with their pants down, in flagrante delicto, they get caught by their own arrogant belief that they are above the law.
“Politicians are like diapers. They both need changing regularly and for the same reason” – Anonymous
– be the ones who catch these egregrious, craven and offensive people. There’s a lot we can do, but we must start with ourselves.
– do our homework and know who we are voting for and electing. We should choose our servants/representatives with discretion.
– be clear in our minds that we are electing people to serve us and honestly minister to our needs.
– know that we are responsible for our own actions and circumstances. And when we vote for a person to represent us without knowing what we want, we are going to get what we deserve. And deserve what we get!
– support Civil Society movements in whatever way we can – after studying them and agreeing with their methods and objectives.
– support environmental groups that are fighting for a better present and future against venal politicians and their vested interests.
– support Social Equity – especially those marginalised by the very politicians whom we elect to serve us and the corporate exploiters who pay politicians off.
– protest and demand information about so called public utility schemes floated by corrupt politicians without public discussion.
– overcome our indifference and our small minded insularity, learned helplessness and Amor fati, and participate; think positively, and go ahead and do things that we can do within our own expertise or experience to improve, increase awareness and educate.
We can, by this, be true to ourselves and share this projection of our true image.
Pratap Antony: Passive activist/Active pacifist writer on ecology and environment, compassion and humanity, social justice, dogs, music and dance – http://pratapantony.blogspot.in/. Management ideas and issues – http://reformcommunications.blogspot.in/